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Ye gods ! shall Cibber's son, without rebuke, 115
Swear like a Lord, or Rich outwhore a Duke?
A favourite's porter with his master vie,
Be bribed as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill?
Or Japhet pocket, like his Grace, a will ? 120
Is it for Bond, or Peter, (paltry things,)

pay their debts, or keep their faith, like kings ? If Blount despatch'd himself, he play'd the man, And so may'st thou, illustrious Passeran!


Ver. 115. Cibber's son,--Rich] Two players : look for them in the Dunciad.

Pope. Ver. 122. To pay their debts,] This severe line relates to a fact of too delicate a nature to be explained.

Warton. Ver. 123. If Blount] Author of an impious foolish book called The Oracles of Reuson, who being in love with a near kinswoman of his, and rejected, gave himself a stab in the arm, as pretending to kill himself, of the consequence of which he really died.

Pope. Ver. 123. If Blount despatch'd hinself,] He was the younger son of Sir Henry Blount, who wrote an admirable account of a Voyage to the Levant, 1636; and younger brother of Sir Thomas Pope Blount, who wrote the Censura Authorum. And this Charles Blount was not only the author of The Oracles of Reason, but of an infidel treatise, intitled, Anima Mundi, and of the Life of Apollonius Tyanæus, in folio, 1680; with notes said to be taken from the manuscript of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It was his sisterin-law, with whom he was in love, when he destroyed himself.

Warton. Ver. 124. Passeran!] Author of another book of the same stamp, called, A Philosophical Discourse on Death, being a defence of suicide. He was a nobleman of Piedmont, banished from his country for his impieties, and lived in the utmost misery, yet feared to practise his own precepts; of which there went a pleasant story about that time. Amongst his pupils, to whom he read


But shall a printer, weary of his life,

125 Learn, from their books, to hang himself and wife?



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in moral philosophy, there was, it seems, a noted gumester, who lodged under the same roof with him. This useful citizen, after run of ill luck, came one morning early into the philosopher's bedchamber with two loaded pistols; and, as Englishmen do not understand raillery in a case of this nature, told the Piedmontese, on presenting him with one of his pistols, “ that now was come the time to put his doctrine in practice : that as to himself, having lost his last stake, he was become an useless member in society, and so was resolved to quit his station; and that as to him, his guide, philosopher, and friend, surrounded with miseries, the outcast of government, and the sport even of that chance which he adored, he doubtless would rejoice for such an opportunity to bear him company.” All this was said and done with so much resolution and solemnity, that the Italian found himself under a necessity to cry out Murder; which brought in company to his relief. This unhappy man at last died a penitent.

Warburton. Ver. 125. But shall a printer, &c.] A fact that happened in London a few years past. The unhappy man left behind him a paper justifying his action by the reasonings of some of these authors.

Pope. In the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1732, it is related, that Richard Smith, a bookbinder, and prisoner for debt in the King's Bench, and Bridget his wife, were found hanging in their chamber, about two yards distant from each other; and below in their kitchen, their little child, two years old, shot through the head in its cradle. They were neatly dressed in clean linen, a curtain was drawn between the man and woman, a pistol loaded lying near him, and a knife by her. They left two letters, one for the landlord about his rent, and the other to Mr. Brindley, endeavouring to justify the manner and causes of their death ; and begging their dog and cat might be taken care of. Voltaire also has given this account in an Essay on English suicides. Melanges, vol. iv.

Warton. One of the letters written by these mistaken and unfortunate people, is very curious, though we cannot but deplore the per


This, this, my friend, I cannot, must not bear;
Vice, thus abused, demands a nation's care:
This calls the church to deprecate our sin,
And hurls the thunder of the laws on Gin. 130

Let modest FOSTER, if he will, excel
Ten metropolitans in preaching well ;


verted mode of reasoning, which, in their statement, these poor people, to whom Pope alludes, employed. The letter to the landlord is,


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“ The necessity of my affairs has obliged me to give you this trouble ; I hope I have left more than is sufficient for the money I owe you. I beg of you that you will be pleased to send these inclosed papers, as directed, immediately by some porter, and that without shewing them to any one. Your humble servant,

“ RICHARD SMITH. “ P. S. I have a suit of black clothes at the Cock in Mint-street, which lies for 17s.6d.

“ If you can find any * chap for my dog and ancient cat, it would be kind. I have here sent a shilling for the porter.” Bowles.

Ver. 129. This calls the church to deprecate our sin,] Alluding to the Forms of Prayer composed in the times of public calamity and distress ; where the fault is generally laid upon the people.

Warburton. Ver. 130. Gin.] A spirituous liquor, the exorbitant use of which had almost destroyed the lowest rank of the people, till it was restrained by an act of Parliament in 1736.

Pope. Ver. 131. Let modest Foster,] This confirms an observation which Mr. Hobbes made long ago, That there be very few bishops that act a sermon so well, as divers Presbyterians and fanatic preachers can do!! Hist. of Civ. Wars, p. 62. Scribl. Warburton. He was an eloquent and persuasive preacher, and wrote an ex


* Buyer.

A simple Quaker, or a Quaker's wife,
Outdo Landaff, in doctrine,-yea, in life :
Let humble ALLEN, with an awkward shame, 135
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.


cellent Defence of Christianity against Tindal. Dr. Warburton's note is a direct contradiction to the sentiment of his friend, who meant to pay a deserved compliment to a worthy and amiable dissenting teacher, and who quoted him with approbation to Bolingbroke.

Warton. Ver. 133. A simple Quaker, or a Quaker's wife,] The bishop of Landaff at this time was Dr. Matthias Mawson, Master also of Benet College in Cambridge, of whom a very respectable account, founded on facts, is given in Master's history of that college ; a much more competent witness in this case than Pope, who was probably influenced on this occasion by some Tory prejudice.

Wakefield. Ver. 133. a Quaker's wife,] Mrs. Drummond, celebrated in her time.

Warton. Ver. 134. Outdo Landaf] A prelate of irreproachable character, who is said never to have offended Pope ; and whose son is no small ornament to his profession, Dr. Harris, of Doctors' Com

Warton. Ver. 134. Landaf] A poor bishopric in Wales, as poorly supplied.

Pope. Ver. 135. Let humble Allen,] Mr. Pope, on the republication of this poem, in a letter to Mr. Allen, writes thus : “I am going to insert, in the body of my works, my two last poems in quarto. I always profit myself of the opinion of the public, to correct myself on such occasions ; and sometimes the merits of particular men, whose names I have made free with, for examples either of good or bad, determine me to alterations. I have found a virtue in you more than I certainly knew before, till I had made experiment of it, I mean humility. I must therefore in justice to my own conscience of it, bear testimony to it, and change the epithet I first gave you of low-born, to humble. I shall take care to do you the justice to tell every body, this change was not made at




Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
'Tis just alike to virtue, and to me;
Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same, beloved, contented thing. 140
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth:
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore;
Let Greatness owN HER, and she's mean no more,




yours, or at any friend's request for you, but my own knowledge

, you merited it,” &c. Twit. Nov. 2.

Warburton. Ver. 144. Let Greatness own her, and she's mean no more,] The poet, in this whole passage, was willing to be understood as alluding to a very extraordinary story told by Procopius, in his Secret History; the sum of which is as follows:

The Empress THEODORA was the daughter of one Acaces, who had the care of the wild beasts, which the Green Faction kept for the entertainment of the people. For the empire was, åt that time, divided between the two factions of the Green and Blue. But Acaces dying in the infancy of Theodora, and her two sisters, his place of Master of the Bears was disposed of to a stranger: and his widow had no other way of supporting herself than by prostituting her three daughters (who were all very pretty) on the public theatre. Thither she brought them in their turns, as they came to years of puberty. Theodora first attended her sisters in the habit and quality of a slave. And when it came to her turn to mount the stage, as she could neither dance nor play on the flute, she was put into the lowest class of buffoons, to make diversion for the rabble; which she did in so arch a manner, and complained of the indignities she suffered in so ridiculous a tone, that she became an absolute favourite of the people. After a complete course of infamy and prostitution, the next place we hear of her is at Alexandria, in great poverty and distress : from whence (as it was no wonder) she was willing to remove. And to Constantinople she came; but after a large circuit through the east, where she worked her way by a free course of prostitution. JUSTINIAN


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